Bitcoin Denominations

This site has been created to assist in establishing and promoting standards for Bitcoin Denominations. The aim is for a sustainable and universal set of denominations for the digital currency. The basis of the current bitcoin denomination proposals has been based on functional integration with existing monetary systems and internationally accepted data inspired labelling in recognition of the digital nature of the currency.

Decimal vs. non-decimal

decimal currency is a currency where the ratio between the main unit and the subunit is an integral power of 10. Non-decimal currencies are now rare. In theory, two countries currently use non-decimal currency: Mauritania (1 ouguiya = 5 khoums) and Madagascar (1 ariary = 5 iraimbilanja). In practice, however, the value of the main unit in each case is so low (less than 1/1000 of a United States dollar) that the sub-unit is not of any practical use and is rarely seen in circulation.

For a modern financial system based in mathematical algorithms it makes sense to adhere to the decimal standard that also happens to be used by almost every currency in the world. This also allows for standard international naming conventions and SI prefixes to represent intermediary steps in between significant units.

Choice of name

It is common to name a unit with a unit of weight, such as poundlira, and baht. In most cases, these currencies were originally defined as that amount of some precious metal. Another choice of name is some form of derivative of the political entity. The Afghan afghani and European euro fall into this category. Sometimes the name is simply the name of the metal of which the coins were or are made, such asPolish złoty (“golden”) and Vietnamese đồng (“copper”), or its geographical origin, e.g. Joachimsthaler (see Dollar).

Following this rational it loosely makes sense to base the currency in bits which are the base digital unit within most data systems. It should be noted that bits is not a literal translation as the unit of data does not directly correlate with a unit of currency. Semantically speaking bits would also be a smaller part of a total bitcoin.

BTC vs. XBT

Whilst BTC is commonly used to refer to the currency by its users it is not always used to represent an actual unit of value within the currency system. At the same time XBT is becoming recognised by significant money market players (e.g. Bloomberg, XE.com etc) and is recognised as an unofficial ISO 4217 country code. Therefore it would make sense when establishing internationally accepted denominations to use the XBT code to fully integrate Bitcoin with existing financial systems and make a clear distinction for the newly accepted denominations and avoid confusion with existing common names and nicknames.

Proposed Bitcoin Denominations

Bitcoin ValueFractional Unit ValueUnit TypeProposed DenominationShorthand Markup Common Alternatives
1.00000000 Bitcoin1,000,000SubunitOne Megabit / One Bitcoin1 MɃ / 1 ₿Bitcoin, BTC, XBT, 1 Megabit
0.10000000 Bitcoin100,000SubunitOne Hundred Kilobits100 kɃ
0.01000000 Bitcoin10,000SubunitTen Kilobits10 kɃBitcent, Centibitcoin
0.00100000 Bitcoin1,000SubunitOne Kilobit1 kɃmBTC, millibitcoin
0.00010000 Bitcoin100SubunitOne Hundred bits100 Ƀ
0.00001000 Bitcoin10SubunitTen bits10 Ƀ
0.00000100 Bitcoin1Base UnitOne bit1 ɃuBTC, microbitcoin
0.00000010 Bitcoin0.10SubunitTen Centibits / Ten Satoshi10 cɃDecibit
0.00000001 Bitcoin0.01SubunitOne Centibit / One Satoshi
1 cɃSatoshi

Last Updated – December 2017

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